Materials and format:

Paintings, multimedia work:

In 2007 I began to paint in oil and tempera, primarily using earth pigments and natural minerals1 . I was also exploring the translucent/transparent materials of encaustic and glass.

A desire to keep the edge of my work visible began my interest in frame designs and the borders/edges of paintings; in this place there is a meeting of two and three dimensions, a place where edge, border, valley and rise can be explored. Frames are practical. Paintings unframed, however, meet air and the field of the wall at their edge, and feel spacious.

Now in 2018, my paintings I anticipate will still be made with natural pigments (primarily earth and mineral).


"Fencrest" is a place, a subject, a coming together of form; "Fen" stands for swamp, a low watery place, and "crest" for the crest of a hill or a wave, the crest of a heron or dinosaur's head-dress, or the crest of an animal's neck.

My work is rooted in landscape art, and considers animals and water. Within this simple constraint there are many paths to take, and work to bring form to.

Animal and human figures represent body and soul; they are life condensed, vital, compelling. What makes water different (incredible beyond being part of us)is that it can be translucent, but still tangible. It is forever shifting its physical states and locations.

When I first wrote this page, I wrote "Landscape is the container for all; a container sensed by humans and animals, that holds the world as we know it. We sense it, and we are a part of it." Landscape though, if contained, is primarily contained by our imaginations. Landscape is everywhere, sensed, created, and recreated by humans and animals, intermingled and exists in some way with or without the many world words for landscape.

The three subject containers on the Fencrest Studio home page, "with", "between", and "with out", represent a spectrum of landscape art which is colored by an awareness of the presence or lack of animals, people, and other figures. Each of these subjects and the web spaces which they are linked to will one day hold a separate set of works.

Thomas Cole painted a painting called The Titan's Goblet, which portrays a goblet of immense proportion both set in a landscape and holding a landscape (a landscape including houses and cascading waterfalls precariously perched on the goblet's rim). This painting reminds the viewer that categorization of art can also be "between". That is, a still life may contain a landscape, or a landscape a still life. Likewise, a portrait may be in a landscape, and a landscape in a portrait. The painting of Mona Lisa is remarkable, for example, in part because her face, hands, and wardrobe subtly mimic, repeat, and add to the landscape that she is in.

Paintings between might be mostly without figures, but with creations or constructions made by humans and animals; habitations, habitats, objects, barriers, connections, pathways, food. Or perhaps a painting between, may be between moments in time, or between heaven and earth. Between is subjective.

Translucent or watery things juxtaposed with opaque things are compelling and often beautiful, like eyes in the body. Translucency juxtaposed with opacity may help to convey the invisible and unseen; the soul and spirit, as well as both immediate and ancient concealed or partially revealed layers of memories, stories, and histories in a landscape. The lack of translucency where it normally might be found can also be thought provoking, such as when angels are painted in a solid manner4 .

Language too affects how we view landscape. Language is like music, invisible, and yet inseparable from what we see and how we experience it. A landscape with a moon, should be the same one person to another, and yet the sound/music and rhythm inherent in the word "moon" changes from language to language, as does the cultural context.

.Elements of a painting or sculpture may be considered in advance, or evolve with the work. When I am painting or sculpting what I am seeing, what is being made is mostly a collection and a layering of moments and pespectives in time; some in my frames of view, some considered.

Art reflects experiences which have moved the artist's hearts and spirits strongly, and their ideas and thoughts. Even so, interpretation can be like shapes and figures in clouds - what can be seen may not be intended by the artist, and the artist might not see in their work what another viewer does see. Artists might hope, however, to inspire a variety of interpretations.+.

A few lines from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Renascence" (RenaSCENcE), are cast into metal and affixed to a rock on a mountain in Maine. Thoughts in the poem have remained with me since my early days. The lines from the poem on the plaque were few, but they held a message for me about a person's capacity and desire to help others, and of hope (the full poem describes a complex spiritual moment with additional interpretations).

I struggled to select lines from the full poem, based on my memory of the excerpt. Below, I have rather just put a few lines - they are the full poem's opening lines outlining a vast scene and fine boundary, followed by a point before a renascence, and some lines after a renascence.

All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I’d started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see:
These were the things that bounded me.

Ah, awful weight! Infinity

......I hugged the ground;
I raised my quivering arms on high;
I laughed and laughed into the sky;

The soul can ... let the face of God shine through.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Perhaps "Let the face of God shine through" is akin to reaching towards the utmost brilliancy and love to shine through our endeavors. I strive to make art that has resonance and honors what I see and feel, with my senses, memory, heart and soul.

Art, perhaps especially that which has beauty, can inspire appreciation for life; with joy ( even the kind that might make one wish to hug the trees and the ground, and to raise ones arms on high, and laugh and laugh into the sky [E. Millay] ) one might have the passion to be a positive force in many life sustaining endeavors. Some art addresses life's pain and suffering, but then tries to heal.

Art transforms space and environmental perception, and in doing so transforms experience and well being.

Health through art, together with environmental health, contribute in sustaining and making individual, family, and community health. Health of plants and plant communities, returns health to animals. Health of animals, can return health to plants. Such vital interconnections will also figure in what I make, such as in what I paint.

1. based on the methods and research of Mr. Michael Price, artist, painter, author. 2. One project I am currently working on, is frame designs for the paintings that I wish to frame. Some of my works are left unframed, however, some will be framed in floater frames (which may sometimes incorporate small painted panels). (see Thoughts on Art) 3. see analysis of Mona Lisa in Notebook- Thoughts on Art); May 25th, 2008. 4. or humans granted wings. Wings are beautiful to me. The connection established between birds and dinosaurs make wings, birds, and dinosaurs/dragons all the more fascinating.